The “May I have a seat please?” lanyards were launched by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in 2019. The initiative sought to alert others on public transportation to give their seats up to those with less visible health conditions or disabilities.
The initiative initially started with stickers; in 2021, reusable lanyards were introduced. Commuters with health conditions may collect a lanyard from the passenger service centers at MRT stations, bus interchanges or TransitLink ticket offices.
Conditions may range from dementia and autism to heart and limb conditions.
Transport Minister S Iswaran said, “All public transport operators have training programmes, developed in consultation with various social service agencies, to equip their staff with the skills to look out for and assist commuters with disabilities, including those with invisible conditions,” said the minister.
Not compulsory but be gracious lah!
Priority seats are given up to those who need it more – typically the disabled, elderly, and pregnant women. While these people are represented on the reminder sticker banners plastered on trains and busses, it doesn’t mean that only the priority seats should be given up to those with the “may I have a seat please” lanyard.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng spoke about the initiative on 3 March, “Commuters are encouraged to exercise graciousness and give up “not just priority seats” to fellow commuters who need them more.”
Make it our new social norm, be generous in giving up our seats to those who need it more
A person with the “May I have a seat please” lanyard may appear healthy but medical conditions or disabilities may be invisible.
Rather than relying on our eyes to judge whether a person is fit or deserving of a seat, let’s be kind and exercise empathy to those who are less fortunate than us. Plus it’s free mah, it cost us nothing to show an act of kindness.